Information about the El Cerrito Library

Library Photo 2023

The El Cerrito Library is located at 6510 Stockton Avenue (next to Fairmont Elementary School) and is part of the Contra Costa County Library system. Visit the El Cerrito Library website for information such as hours, events and collection details. Phone: 510-526-7512.

Planning for a New Library

Since approximately 2002, the City has been exploring potential sites and funding for a new public library. The current 6,500 square foot library was built in 1948 and expanded in 1960 and is significantly undersized and outdated and is unable to meet current and future needs. In 2019, the City Council requested that BART include a potential 20,000 square foot library in its Request for Qualifications for the El Cerrito Plaza BART Transit-oriented Development (TOD) project. Compared to a library built as a stand-alone project elsewhere, a modern library incorporated into the El Cerrito Plaza BART TOD project would save the City over $10,000,000 ($10M) and provide numerous other benefits including the opportunity to have a 21st century library with a full complement of contemporary services that would serve as a destination and anchor El Cerrito’s downtown, in proximity to other amenities and services.  

The project developers and designers, working with the City and County library staff, have laid out a proposed library on the corner of Liberty Street and Fairmount Avenue that would be able to be built to the most contemporary standards for libraries and public facilities. Although the final design of the interior of the library would be undertaken when the City funds the library, the space held for the library would be sufficient to program adult, teen and children’s areas, multipurpose rooms, meeting spaces, enhanced services and technologies, and emergency response capabilities such as providing  clean air or charging electronics in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, the library would sit adjacent to public open space on Fairmount Avenue allowing for outdoor programing.

Due to the need for the City to develop financing to construct the new library, the library is being included in the project’s final phase which is scheduled to go into final design in Spring 2025. The City has until that time to determine if it will fund a library in the project. If the City does not elect to proceed, the 20,000 square foot space held for the library will be designed instead as a corner retail unit and additional amenities for the residential project.

Over the course of 2024, the City will continue to host public meetings to discuss the current opportunity to build a new library in El Cerrito. Stay tuned for more information about a library workshop in Spring 2024.

Past Meetings and Meeting Materials

At the November 21, 2023 City Council meeting, Staff provided an update on the City's efforts for a new El Cerrito Library. Click here to access the presentation. Click here to watch a recording of the informational update (begins at 01:26:38).

A El Cerrito Library Public Forum was held on September 27, 2023 to provide more information about the current library and plans for a new library space to meet community needs. Click here to review the Presentation from the meeting and click here to watch a recording of the meeting.

A Library City Council Workshop was held on February 21, 2023. Click here to read the agenda report, click here to read the presentation and click here to watch a recording of the Workshop (at the 34:15 mark).

Library Background Information

Built in 1948, the El Cerrito Library does not currently meet the earthquake or health and safety standards for libraries built today.

The library is outdated and bursting at the seams. When school gets out, the El Cerrito Library is packed with school children. Space is limited for books, programs, and people – these constraints bring the library to a virtual standstill when youth use the library after school. Library programs for children and teens, including homework help and reading resources, are critical to providing our students with the resources they need. The El Cerrito Library is simply overcrowded, and too small for what our community needs.

The City of El Cerrito is considering a ballot measure for a new library that meets current health, safety, and seismic standards including providing cooling, warming, and charging centers during extreme weather events. This measure would build a new seismically safe library for residents to use for years to come.

A new library could provide updated facilities and space that will allow more after-school programs for youth and children, an expanded collection, additional seating and public computers, group study areas, and community meeting rooms – all of which are important.

Any measure would be budget stable and will continue the high standards in El Cerrito for fiscal accountability and transparency by requiring that any money generated must be spent only on library priorities, and not for any other purpose.


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CONTACT THE LIBRARY

Contact Contra Costa County Library via chat, text, email, or telephone: https://ccclib.org/contact-us/.

Contra Costa County Library Commission

The County Library Commission was created to serve in an advisory capacity to the County Board of Supervisors and the County Librarian. The Library Commission is comprised of 29 members, including one representative from the City of El Cerrito. For more information about the Library Commission including what the Commission does, how to get involved and meeting information, visit the Commission webpage.

Friends of the
El Cerrito Library

The Friends of the El Cerrito Library is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting library services in El Cerrito. Visit the Friends of the El Cerrito Library website.

El Cerrito Library Foundation

The El Cerrito Library Foundation is a community-based, non-profit organization developing support for creating and maintaining a modern public library in El Cerrito that will meet the learning, cultural, and recreational needs for persons of all ages. We believe that a great community library cannot be created with public funding alone. https://eclibraryfoundation.org/